Wisconsin vs. Washington State kicks off this Saturday at 7:30pm EST in Pullman as a home game for the Cougars. Wisconsin is currently a -6 favorite with -220 odds on the moneyline (bet $220 to win $100) while the total is set at 59. Read on for more Wisconsin vs. Washington State best bets and predictions as Wisconsin looks to ride their momentum after a strong second half in week one.
Wisconsin Vs. Washington State Prediction & Best Bet
It was a night and day performance for the Wisconsin Badgers in week one against Buffalo. They looked to be asleep at the wheel in the first half, entering halftime up 14-10. Turnovers and stalled out drives were to be expected early on as they integrated into a new offensive system and that is exactly what happened early on. The Badgers then kicked it in gear and pulled away with a strong second half performance, eventually winning 38-17.
Speaking of turnovers, it was Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai that really stood out as his sloppy play led to two interceptions. This forced the Badgers to revert back to a run-heavy scheme, finding success as both Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen ran wild against the Buffalo defense. They combined for 298 yards and four touchdowns.
With Mordecai still rounding into form, the Badgers may once again call upon their elite ground game to get the job done against the Cougars. They will be in a great position to do so as Washington State’s defense showed little resistance in stopping the run, ranking 112th in Def Rush Success and 81st in Def Rush PPA.
This spells disaster against the up-tempo Badger offense as the defense will be forced to scramble to keep pace while conceding small gains at a time. Factor in the idea that Mordecai can still sling it at a moment’s notice and the Cougars secondary will be punished as soon as they try to cheat up and stack the box in an effort to limit the run.
Still, until Wisconsin can prove that they can run this offense without any hiccups then it’s hard to trust them to cover the spread against a Washington State team that can keep within their scoring pace. Bypassing the spread, I will look to tie Wisconsin’s moneyline into a two team moneyline parlay with hopes of them to win outright.
Wisconsin Vs. Washington State Odds
Even after an underwhelming week one performance, oddsmakers still believe this is the Badgers game to lose as they opened Wisconsin as a -6 favorite. Bettors are in the same belief, baking Wisconsin up to -6.5 in some books. It’s tough to gauge where this Washington State squad is as this is their first real test after a week one gimmie against the Colorado State Rams.
Speaking of offense, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers set the opening number at 54.5. Bettors have since hammered the over, taking the number up to as high as 58.5 as of writing. A curious line movement, yet justifiable as Wisconsin’s defense failed to put together a complete game. A potential over reaction to the Cougars offensive explosion, making this a pass for me until I see how they handle a more rigid defense.
Wisconsin Vs. Washington State Key Matchups
Can the Badgers contain Cameron Ward? How does Lincoln Victor follow up his brilliant week one performance?
Cameron Ward vs Wisconsin Front Seven
Flying under the radar as one of the more lethal dual threat quarterbacks in the nation, Washington State’s Cameron Ward has all the tools to burn opposing defenses. He flashed both his arm and running ability by torching the Ram’s defense to the tune of 451 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 40 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown.
The 2024 Quarterback class is so much fun. Don’t forget Washington State QB Cameron Ward. Last night:
37/49 451 YDS 3 TD 0 INT
13 ATT 40 YDS 1 TD
— Kevin (@Daboys_22) September 3, 2023
Wisconsin is capable of turning Ward into a one-dimensional player with their front seven, generating pressure on the outside and forcing him to beat them with just his arm as one of the top units in Def Rush Success Rate. With a running back room that has yet to show up, this allows Wisconsin’s secondary to sit back and stretch out their coverage.
Lincoln Victor vs Wisconsin Secondary
Should the Cougars be forced to throw the ball at a heavier rate then all eyes will be on their receiver Lincoln Victor who just turned in a 168-yard performance.
The Badgers secondary will have their hands full trying to contain him, regressing to average marks in Def Pass Success Rate and Def Pass Explosiveness. Having to spy Ward with a linebacker also takes away coverage, giving Victor more room to work with.